Village building is for people who want to shine by helping others shine.
A rewarding life might seem upside down. What’s upside down about village building? Villages are built by people who thrive by bringing benefit to others. Village builders don’t need to be front and center. They enjoy seeing others get credit.
Find satisfaction watching others succeed. Envy destroys villages.
Join a village by becoming part of other people’s worlds. Don’t wear a mask, sell yourself, or put on a false front.
Villages make jerks, idiots, tough guys, bullies, and control freaks squirm. If you’re impressed with your own brilliance, a village is inconvenient. You want admirers, not village people.
The people who need a village most seek it the least. Let’s assume you’re not an idiot. Suppose you desire a village, but you feel anxious.
4 steps to your village comfort zone:
- Be available to make things better.
- Seek to meet and know others. Focus on others, not yourself.
- Take on tasks that others opt out of.
- Demonstrate joyful hope to be a member.
Overcome fear of village building:
Perhaps you prefer being alone. Enjoy alone time but keep in touch with your desire to feel respected. Realize it’s hard to make a difference from a distance.
Perhaps you worry that village building consumes too much time. Rise above short-term living. There is never enough time in a world filled with trivial urgencies, distractions, and unreasonable deadlines.
Perhaps conversations are difficult for you. Craft a few questions that others love to answer.
- How did you get good at that?
- What got you interested in…?
- What’s one of your favorite childhood memories?
- Who is the first person you call when you have something to celebrate?
- What would you miss the most if you had to leave your village?
After someone responds to your questions, share a bit of yourself and ask another question. Focus your question on the response they gave to your first question.
Pause before you speak. Let people know you are focused on them.
Overcome discomfort with action. Succeed with one person. Repeat.
6 ways to build your village today:
#1. Enjoy people.
Overcome delight in yourself by being delighted with others. Greet people joyfully. Let them know you’re glad to see them.
- Leave every conversation with, “See ya next time,” or “Let’s talk again.”
- Compliment – “Your son played great in the game.”
- Praise – Be specific about an observation.
#2. Calm yourself.
Village building takes time. Forget about the next milestone. Reach for relationship. Find something, anything, in common to step into a conversation. Be ready for a second conversation, then the third. The fourth conversation locks you in.
#3. Open your fist.
An open hand takes you further than a closed fist.
- Practice generosity with your time. Schedule 3-hours a week to show interest in others.
- Work to release people more than control them.
- Put words to your respect for people’s talents, skill, and character.
- Choose to give love rather than demand control.
- Congratulate accomplishments.
#4. Practice good manners.
Idiots don’t have time for good manners.
- Say thank you.
- Let people know you’re glad to see them.
- Look at people as if you like them.
- Offer your seat to an elder.
- Apologize when wrong.
- Extend forgiveness when wronged.
- Observe social customs.
Good manners are kindness in action.
When kindness is bothersome to you, village building is inconvenient.
#5. Show up to contribute.
People who are out for themselves can’t build real villages.
Identify your best contributions by seeking feedback. Ask, “In your opinion, what is my best contribution?”
#6. Adopt a learn-from attitude.
- Start or join a book club.
- Play checkers or chess with a new acquaintance.
- Ask 5 people to tell childhood stories.
- Ask, “Who are the great people in your past?”
8 village building projects:
- Create a ‘let us paint your house’ team, or care for elderly, widows and widowers, or military appreciation.
- Join a local theater group.
- Host a bar-b-que with games for kids
- Take a driving tour of neighboring towns.
- Interview two villagers who are in the center of the flow of a healthy village.
- Send emails to five people and ask what is working for them and what could be better.
- Dream with 2 people about what a future village might look like.
- Make a list of people you would love to be part of your village. Share your dream with them.
What’s important about building a village?
What might you do today to strengthen connections with people?
This post is a collaboration between Dan Rockwell and Stan Endicott.
Note: I relax my 300-word limit on weekends.